California Health Efforts Serve as Nationwide Models
A San Francisco health access program and a new statewide ban on chemicals in children's products are serving as models for similar initiatives throughout the U.S.
On Tuesday, Howard County, Md., unveiled a program to provide access to health care services for the county's uninsured residents, similar to a program recently launched in San Francisco, the Washington Post reports (DeFord/Otto, Washington Post, 10/16).
Peter Beilenson, Howard County's health officer, said the program is available to adults who:
- Have been living legally in the county for at least one year;
- Have been uninsured for at least one year;
- Are ineligible for state and federal health programs; and
- Meet income requirements.
Beilenson said the county will enroll uninsured children and adults in state and federal health programs for which they qualify (Otto, Washington Post, 10/17).
The program would provide these residents a mix of services from private providers and from the county's hospital and community health centers (Washington Post, 10/16).
Enrollees will pay a monthly fee based on income (Washington Post, 10/17).
The program is similar to Healthy San Francisco, a universal health access program for the city's 82,000 uninsured residents (Washington Post, 10/16).
Participants have access to 14 city health clinics and eight affiliated community clinics, with an emphasis on preventive and chronic disease care (California Healthline, 9/25).
Beilenson said Howard County's program is not health insurance, nor does it cover the cost of health care services outside the county (Washington Post, 10/16).
Healthy San Francisco operates under similar guidelines (California Healthline, 9/25).
On Monday, supporters of a measure signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) that bans the use of phthalates in children's products announced plans to help enact similar laws in at least nine other states and in Congress, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The governor signed the legislation amid concerns that phthalates can cause hormonal damage or breast cancer (Chorneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/16).
California is the first state in the nation to enact such a ban (Weise, USA Today, 10/17).
Assembly member Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), author of AB 1108, said, "California continues to lead the nation in protecting children from dangerous chemicals and in safeguarding our environment." She added that the measure "sends a clear message to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that if the Bush administration won't act, states will."
Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) indicated that she plans to author a bill to expand California's ban nationwide, according to a spokesperson.
The other states planning to introduce similar legislation in the near future include:
- New York;
- Texas; and
- Washington (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/16).
Jack Gerard, president of the American Chemistry Council, said, "This law is the product of the politics of fear" and is neither "good science" nor "good government." He added, "California businesses will now be obliged to take products off the shelves that their customers need and want" (USA Today, 10/17). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.